Song Review: Onew (SHINee) – Kirakira

Onew - KirakiraSHINee is one of those select K-pop groups whose Japanese output is on par with their Korean work – both in quality and volume. This extends to their solo projects, with multiple members making inroads to the J-pop market. On the heels of his latest mini album, Onew is set to release the Japanese language Who Sings? Vol. 1, heralded by new single Kirakira (キラキラ).

Across both projects, I’ve admired Onew’s willingness to embrace multiple genres. It would’ve been easy to churn out a handful of ballads and call it a day, but he’s opted for music with a bit more kick. Songs like Dice and Kirakira still have most of their edges smoothed, but that’s in keeping with his artistic perspective. I don’t expect edgy, prickly pop from Onew. Leave that to bandmates Key and Taemin. Instead, a track like Kirakira shines full spotlight on his warm vocals.

Right from the start, Kirakira delivers the sort of ornate, whimsical atmosphere J-pop does so well. Strings swoop and slide as light percussion gives the song a slight rock touch. This is further developed via a dynamic guitar solo at Kirakira’s climax. The verses are pretty but slight – almost hesitant to leave their full mark. However, I love the chorus. The melody has a satisfying heft and a nice sense of rhythm. Onew manages to squeeze a ton of drama from the refrain without the need of multitracking or vocal harmony. He just belts it out, and that’s more than enough.

Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25


7 thoughts on “Song Review: Onew (SHINee) – Kirakira

  1. Good one, I love it. Onew’s vocals are pretty and comforting. In contrast, the overall performance seems to be airy and forgettable for me. Besides, that guitar solo in the end was a welcoming turn. I think I’ll give this an 8.5 (9,9,8,8). However, I fear how the song will age, as mentioned above.


  2. If this isn’t a cover of the Kazumasa Oda song, I’ll shoot myself in the foot.

    *digs through google*

    It is! And he’s covering 3 more fantastic songs from the early aughts too! I think I’m most excited to hear his take on Hata Motohiro’s Uroku, since it is a bit more upbeat and open for interpretation. Misia’s Everything is a pretty odd choice. The song is so ridiculously well known that I can’t see people really caring for a cover of it. For Dreams Come True, they have so many better songs in their discography than Yasashii Kiss O Shite. But we shall see when they come out! I wonder if his original songs will stay in the same vein as these? That sort of early 2000’s super soft rock and r&b.


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